Tom and Gisele, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, More at Center of Sony Email Hacks
Just last week, WikiLeaks created a database containing thousands of published Sony emails that were hacked and shared last November. Boston’s own Matt Damon was outed for allegedly helping a kid get into Harvard—the son of an Ocean’s Thirteen writer to be more specific—and now more material involving some rather familiar names are surfacing.
When good ol’ Ben Affleck participated in Henry Louis Gates’s PBS program Finding Your Roots, he asked to censor one tiny detail about his heritage: that his ancestors—gasp!—owned slaves. In private emails between Gates and Sony CEO Michael Lynton, Gates was really hesitant to do so, knowing it was jeopardize his editorial judgement.
In a July 2014 email, Gates wrote, “To do this would be a violation of PBS rules, actually, even for Batman.” Lynton told Gates to proceed with Affleck’s request as long as he can get away with it. “I would take it out if no one knows,” Lynton wrote. “It is tricky because it may get out that you made the change and it comes down to editorial integrity.”
And of course, this information got out. Thanks, Sony! In a statement defending his decision, Gates said, “Ultimately, I maintain editorial control on all of my projects and, with my producers, decide what will make for the most compelling program. In the case of Mr. Affleck, we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry.” Side glance.
Meanwhile, Sony considered featuring Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen in Playstation’s superhero series “Powers,” according to the Herald.
Sony TV president of programming Chris Van Amburg outlined his idea in an email exchange with Sony TV president Steve Mosko: “Scene would take place inside the [Under Armour] offices and be representative of a big signing meeting followed with all of the advertising around town using the new look for Zora.” He added, “Current UA talent (Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen) are integrated as a character in the series. Creative needs to be figured out, so they are not seen as inferior to our ‘Powers’ characters.”
Upstage Tom and Gisele? How dare you, Sony. Apparently the project never kicked off because Mosko responded shortly saying “we need some space on this.” No sore losses, it looks like.
According to other emails discovered by the Herald, Mark Wahlberg supposedly got chummy with the makers behind Uncharted, an in-development movie based on Sony’s Playstation game. Outside of the emails discussing Wahlberg’s “positive” meeting with director Seth Gordon, Sony exec Doug Belgrad wrote to former Sony chairwoman Amy Pascal that Chris Hemsworth (a.k.a. Thor) is first in line for the role. Right now, Uncharted still has not secured a lead.
And finally, Matt Damon hit up Pascal in a separate email asking her to foot the bill for a $100,000 poker table at a fundraiser hosted by Damon and Affleck. The fundraiser was for their respective charities, water.org and Eastern Congo Initiative. “No press. No pictures. No shitty charity event. Fun and gambling and good people and saving lives,” he wrote. There was no response from Pascal—probably because her email was hacked.